Business Administration Graduate Programs in Chicago
What are Business Administration Graduate Programs?
Business Administration Graduate Programs include the MBA, DBA and certificate levels of study. They cover topics that managers and leaders need to know to make informed decisions.
Master of Business Administration programs may build skills in functional areas. They touch on topics that help managers oversee staff, projects, sales and operations. You can also tailor an MBA program to line up with career interests through a concentration.
Doctor of Business Administration Programs help managers grow in executive roles. They often touch on policy and problem solving to foster a strategic and global mindset. Research into a focal area can align a DBA program with career choice.
written by Rana Waxman
What can you do with an MBA or DBA?
While an MBA may help you step into management, a DBA may help you step into top executive leadership. There are a wide range of such corporate jobs in both private and public sectors.
A concentration is one way to shape skills to guide your career. For example, a PhD may prep you to innovate, research or teach. A DBA degree may ready you to shape organizational policy.
What type of specializations are there in business administration graduate programs?
There are two types of concentrations in business administration. One covers any of the functional areas of management. The other covers area from outside business.
Business-focused concentrations help you gain expertise in one area from your core program. You can go deeper into marketing, finance, analytics, management and more.
Non-business specializations are areas like cyber security or cyber policy. These concentrations are not part of an MBA or DBA core. But they can help you apply business skills to this industry. Here are 10 popular concentrations. Don’t see one you like? Choose to design your own.
- Strategic Management
- Business Analytics
- Insurance and Risk Management
- Human Resource Management
- Project Management
- Healthcare Management
- Entrepreneurship and Small Business
- Non-profit Leadership
What is the difference between business management and business administration?
Both business management and administration degrees often cover the same core subjects. Yet they are distinct in the type of role they prepare you for.
A grad degree in business management often preps you to manage people and projects. You may learn how to set goals, divide resources and motivate sales teams. In short, how to plan, supervise and make data driven decisions.
A grad degree in business administration covers all the functional areas of business. This includes management and how businesses operate. It also goes deeper to allow you to gain expertise and prep to manage a specific type of business or department.
Are there business administration or business management programs online?
You can pursue a graduate degree in business administration or business management online. Many online learners are already in the workforce, looking to advance their careers.
For most, the format is flexible and may be affordable since you don't have to commute, move or leave your job. The trade-off is you'll work on your own or in teams but in the virtual space. So, while you can definitely pursue a graduate degree online, if you feel you need individual attention there are programs in Illinois available to you as well.
Salaries for Jobs with Business Administration Graduate Degrees
Human Resources Managers
Top States for Employment for people with Business Administration Graduate Degrees
Annual Mean Wage
Top Business Administration Graduate Programs in Chicago
Business Administration degrees are reported by the National Center for Education Statistics under the category of Business, management, marketing, and personal and culinary services.
In fact, in the most recent update of the data (2013), across the U.S, there were 116,792 Business Administration degrees awarded to graduate students. The majority 98 % of these graduate programs were at the master’s level.
Types of Business Graduate Programs
There are business graduate programs for different levels of education and experience. The most well-known is the MBA, which comes in formats like the pre-MBA and EMBA. But there are also terminal degrees like the DBA and PhD.
Interested in taking a few focused classes? There are graduate certificates that enroll you with a bachelor's degree. These usually cover one topic in from 3 to 4 courses and compare to a specialization.
Pre-MBA Programs - A pre-MBA program is a study guide for the Master of Business Administration. It sets out, in from a few weeks to a year, to prepare you to succeed in an MBA. Some will focus more on GMAT and TOEFL exam preps. Others may help you with areas like making presentations, writing or using technology.
MBA Programs – A traditional full time MBA program may take two years to complete. The format offers a broad understanding of how to start or lead a business. At the same time, you’ll be able to concentrate on a single aspect of business or strategic management. There are accelerated, online and part-time options too.
EMBA Programs – An executive MBA is often a part-time, after-work program for experienced business people. It may take from 15 to 24 months to complete, depending on how many courses you are taking. Many programs forgo electives, as EMBAs target those with 5 to 8 years in the workforce.
Business Graduate Certificates – A graduate certificate in business administration is often equal to an MBA concentration. Usually it consists of a single topic and 3 to 4 courses which are do-able in one year or less. While not a degree, you take a sequence of advanced classes that focus on honing skills and knowledge. Sometimes students transfer credits to an MBA program when they are ready.
DBA Programs – A Doctor of Business Administration is a practice doctorate. Often a 3-year program, it may take less time if you have transfer credits. The format covers a cross section of business topics, strategy and global markets. You'll also be able to concentrate in an area. Expect to research, analyze and problem solve.
MBA vs DBA
What is the difference between earning an MBA vs DBA? For one, the MBA is a professional master’s degree. The DBA is a terminal degree for business practitioners.
You may enroll in an MBA from college, or after you have been at work for some time. It is often useful if your goal is to step into a managerial role where you might earn more money. There may be an internship to help you gain practical skills along with the intense course load.
Many DBA programs are for students have their MBA and want to hone executive skills. They may want to focus on setting policy for an organization and are there to learn how. There's also a component of research which builds critical thinking and thought leadership
Business Administration or Business Management?
Business management is a sub-section of business administration. As such schools may interchange the terms even though there are some differences.
Both business management and administration degrees integrate the same core subjects. Topics like marketing, accounting, economics and finance and statistics to name a few.
These topics give students a background in how businesses operate. From sourcing and manufacturing a product selling it, making a profit and cash flows.
- Business Management degrees tend to emphasize planning and organization. Students then might take extra courses in related areas. For instance, communications, logistics, decision-making, information systems and human resources
- Business administration degrees tend to focus on a broad understanding of related topics. Then allow a student to concentrate on a single aspect of business. This may be finance, accounting, marketing, human resources etc.
Take away? Let's say you want a well-rounded business degree and want to focus on leadership. One option is to search for an accredited business school with an MBA in Management.
Accredited Business Schools
Accredited business schools meet criteria set by professional agencies. Because a school has to apply for this status, they need to show that their curriculum:
- Follows ethical norms for business practices
- Leaves students with skills they may apply in the industry
- Has up-to-date information
There are a few agencies who accredit business administration grad programs. Each of them has a database of schools they accredit. About every 7 years, a school must renew its status, so the agency website is a good place to check.
- Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP)
- International Assembly for Collegiate Education (IACBE)
- Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB)
- EFMD Global Network (EQUIS)
- Association Member Benefits Advisors (AMBA)
- Association of Professional Schools of International Affairs (APSIA)
How long does it take to earn a Business Administration Graduate Degree?
Master's degree programs and MBAs generally take a fulltime student from one to two years. Graduate certificates in business administration often take one year or less.
For doctoral programs, one usually needs to complete a final dissertation beyond courses. A DBA degree program may take three to six years to complete beyond the masters. While PhD programs in business administration may take four to five years.
Some students may need more time if they choose to pursue their degree part-time. Taking on a fuller course load or using transfer credits may speed up the time to completion.
# of Credits Required
Starts Per Year
Minimum Months to Complete
Every 8 weeks
12 months +
Find 44 Top Business Administration and Business Management Graduate Programs in Chicago Here
- Some of the nation's most affordable tuition rates, from a private, nonprofit, NEASC accredited university
- Qualified students with 2.5 GPA and up may receive up to $20K in grants & scholarships
- Multiple term start dates throughout the year. 24/7 online classroom access
- Save up to 25%. Save thousands on your masters’s with the Strayer Graduation Fund.
- Strayer University is an accredited institution with a proud history of 125 years in quality education.
- With the help of dedicated personal support and AI technology, earn your degree online or on campus.
Benedictine UniversityAccelerated Masters in Business Administration Master of Business Administration
Loyola University ChicagoMBA- Flexible MBA- One Year MBA- Executive Business Ethics Certificate Dual Degree MBA/MS in Finance Dual Degree MBA/MS in Accounting Master of Business Administration
Colorado Technical UniversityDoctor of Management - General Concentration (Executive Format) Master of Science in Management Master of Business Administration
American InterContinental UniversityMBA - Management
Northcentral UniversityDoctor of Philosophy in Business Administration - Management Doctor of Business Administration - Management Doctor of Business Administration - General Business Master of Business Administration - Strategic Management Master of Business Administration - Management Master of Business Administration - General Business
North Central CollegeMaster of Business Administration Master of Human Resource Management
Loyola University ChicagoDual Degree JD/MBA in Law and Business
Saint Xavier UniversityMBA/MACS (Master of Applied Computer Science) MBA
University of ChicagoEvening and Weekend M.B.A. Programs Ph.D. Program Campus M.B.A. Program Executive MBA Chicago
Dominican UniversityMaster of Business Administration
DePaul UniversityRecords Management Certificate Administrative Professional with MOS Certificate Program Prior Learning Assessment Certificate
Aurora UniversityMaster of Business Administration
University of Illinois at ChicagoNonprofit Management Fund Development Series for Nonprofit Organizations
University of Northwestern-St. PaulMaster of Business Administration
Ellis UniversityMaster of Business Administration (MBA) Master of Science (MS) in Management